The Major League Baseball Draft is next week and, as always, a number of elite high school players are expected to be first-round picks. Special correspondent Frankie Piliere, the national prospect writer for D1Baseball.com and a former scout with the Texas Rangers, projects a dozen high school players will be selected in Round 1. Here he ranks the prep prospects based on interviews with scouts, team executives and draft experts. Follow him on Twitter at @FPiliereD1.
1. Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame High (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
Greene not only has a bright future on the mound but also has first-round talent as a shortstop. Armed with a 94- to 98-mph fastball and a sharp breaking ball, Greene is among the highest-ceiling high school pitchers in recent memory.
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Height, weight: 6-4, 215
Could go: Teams have been hesitant over the years to take a high school right-hander first overall. Greene will not slip beyond the San Diego Padres at third, and his most likely landing spot is with the Cincinnati Reds with the second pick.
2. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville (N.C.) HS
A projectable lefty with advanced command, a full four-pitch mix (fastball, curveball, slider and changeup) and a 90- to 93-mph fastball, Gore is as complete a package as you’ll find out of high school.
MORE: MacKenzie Gore putting his best foot forward
Height, weight: 6-2, 170
Could go: Gore might not get beyond the Oakland Athletics, who pick sixth, and looks likely to be picked third, fourth or fifth by the Padres, Tampa Bay Rays or Braves. Atlanta has a long history of success in drafting high school arms.
3. Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) HS
There’s not much Lewis can’t do on a field. He has the tools to play shortstop or center field as a pro, shows above-average speed and projects to be a strong power threat from the right side.
MORE: Greene, Lewis lone prep players to make Golden Spikes watch list
Height, weight: 6-2, 188
Could go: Lewis is unlikely to make it out of the first five picks, with Tampa Bay and Atlanta looking like his most likely destinations. Both have a history of taking high-upside prep players.
4. Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran (Tomball, Texas) HS
The fastest-rising pitcher in the high school class, Baz has been an eye-opener in recent months, as he has touched as high as 99 mph. His sharp slider and clean delivery only add to his profile.
Height, weight: 6-3, 190
Could go: Another name the Braves are considering, Baz has also garnered interest from Arizona, Philadelphia and the Houston Astros (No. 15). Arizona is targeting power arms and power bats.
5. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad (N.M.) HS
One of the most projectable, cleanest lefty arms we’ve seen out of the high school ranks since Madison Bumgarner, Rogers has touched 96 mph and has a tight, swing-and-miss slider.
MORE: Trevor Rogers has lived up to hype
Height, weight: 6-5, 190
Could go: The Milwaukee Brewers (No. 9) have been linked to Rogers, as have the Miami Marlins (No. 13), Kansas City Royals (No. 14) and New York Yankees (No. 16). The Marlins have an affinity for high-upside lefty pitchers.
6. Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson (Lexington, N.C.) HS
Beck’s stock has soared this spring, as he has shown off an intriguing array of tools, including speed and good power potential from the right side. He is one of the highest-upside players in this class and has improved rapidly.
Height, weight: 6-1, 190
Could go: Beck could go as high as fourth to the Rays and has significant interest from the Brewers, Yankees, and Athletics.
7. Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS
Arguably the most polished high school hitter in the class, Pratto is athletic enough to also profile in the outfield at the next level. His powerful, all-fields hitting approach from the left side remains his main selling point.
Height, weight: 6-2, 195
Could go: The Yankees, Astros and Detroit Tigers (No. 18) have shown the steadiest interest. The Yankees have mined talent consistently in Southern California in recent years.
8. Jo Adell, OF, Ballard (Louisville) HS
Adell has superstar potential but will require patience. He hit 25 home runs this spring, has electrifying arm strength and speed and has a game-changing skill set. But he will require polishing.
MORE: Adell turning into a true Louisville slugger
Height, weight: 6-3, 205
Could go: Throughout the spring, the Royals have been all over Adell, who has also been linked with the White Sox.
9. D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta (Ga.) High
Hall has elite-level arm speed and a hopping 91- to 95-mph fastball to go with it. His sharp curveball and downhill plane give him the tools to be a front-line starter as a professional.
Height, weight: 6-2, 170
Could go: The Brewers, Marlins and Royals have shown the most consistent interest.
10. Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville (Minn.) HS
Carlson has highly advanced command of his 91- to 93-mph fastball. He has late life on his fastball and has flashed above-average bite on his breaking ball.
MORE: Carlson may be best Minnesota prospect since Joe Mauer
Height, weight: 6-4, 208
Could go: Carlson has gotten interest all over the first round, including from the Mets and Texas Rangers, who have two first-round picks (No. 26 and No. 29).
11. Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.) HS
Thompson has one of the best assortments of tools of any player in the class. He has true center-field tools, is a two-sport athlete (baseball and football) and has shown rapid improvement with the bat. The Dodgers are said to be looking for tools and upside to add to their system, and Thompson fits that description.
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Height, weight: 6-2, 180
Could go: The Yankees, Royals, Dodgers and Giants have shown heavy interest.
12. Heliot Ramos, OF, Leadership Christian Academy (Puerto Rico)
Ramos is one of the most intriguing impact hitters in this high school class. His power plays to all parts of the field.
Height, weight: 6-2, 185
Could go: The Dodgers have considered Ramos with their first pick, as have the Texas Rangers (No. 26).